The Heart of Betrayalby Mary E Pearson (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7, 2015
Genres: Espionage, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Romance, Young Adult
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Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.
Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.
The Heart of Betrayal has been burning up my bookshelf for four months now since I had preordered it and it came in the mail in July. After loving The Kiss of Deception and falling for Lia and both her Assassin and Prince last year, I was so glad to finally get the time to sit down with this awesome follow up, and I had a hard time putting it down.
A Royal Prisoner in a Hostile Land
Princess Lia of Morrighan was taken prisoner by her would-be assassin Kaden in the first book, and she’s brought to Venda and delivered to the Komizar there. She’s surprised to see that the prince she was betrothed to, Prince Rafferty of Dalbreck, has joined her in Venda and is masquerading as an Emissary to the real prince. They are both treated poorly by the Komizar and his inner circle–held prisoner–but eventually Lia finds that the citizens of Venda aren’t quite the barbarians that she’s always been led to believe when she was growing up. As Lia and Rafe scheme and play the ultimate game to gain their freedom, who knows who they can trust, and I often questioned if they could even trust each other, as they dealt with the cruel Komizar.
Lia is still smart, kind hearted, and able to turn situations her way. Her character development is sky high in this book, and the manipulations and deceptions that she has to resort to just to stay alive and the protect the ones she loves are many in this book. But she finds small joys in helping the children of Venda, and that comforts her in this book.
Kaden thinks that he’s protecting Lia by bringing her back to the Komizar and keeping her near, but he’s just making things harder for himself. A good deal of Kaden’s backstory is finally revealed so you have a good idea of why he’s so loyal to Venda and the Komizar. He loves Lia and wants to protect her, but she doesn’t want to be anything but his friend.
Rafe is risking his life by following Lia into Venda, but he can’t let her go into that country alone. He’s confident that his men will come to rescue them, but they have to wait until that happens. In the meantime, Lia and Rafe have to act like they don’t like each other, and that proves to be much more difficult than they thought it would be–especially when the Komizar gets the idea that he can use Lia for his own nefarious means. Rafe had to hide who he was for most of the book, so he really didn’t get to shine until the end.
I give The Heart of Betrayal a five out of five. Full of fast paced scenes that brought the bleak yet starkly beautiful Venda to life, the subterfuge and back stabbing were in full force as Lia, Rafe, and even Kaden had to adapt and lie just to survive. The romance between Lia and Rafe was strong and true in the short bursts that they were allowed, and I’ve even grown to like and understand Kaden now. Lia grew into such a fierce warrior in the end, especially when she’s realized the depth of the betrayal across the board in so many things. This is one of the few epic fantasy series that I read, and it sets the bar so high that I’m afraid everything else pales in comparison. I can’t wait for book 3 in August 2016.